A study involving an Indian-origin researcher has shed light on the link between low birth weights and obesity later in life.
Researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center using fetal neural stem cells from animal models found that altering the levels of two common hormones, insulin and leptin, in the uterus changes the cellular development in the region of the brain that regulates appetite.
Leptin and insulin play a role in the body’s ability to regulate energy balance, with leptin serving as a long-term appetite regulator.
Importantly, these hormone levels are altered in infants of mothers with gestational diabetes, obesity or inadequate nutrition during pregnancy.
“By studying the ways in which leptin and insulin communicate with neural stem cells to divide and direct the cell fate, we may one day be able to come up with a new way to combat obesity,” said Mina Desai, PhD, a LA BioMed principal researcher and the corresponding author of the study.
The study has been published online by the journal Endocrinology.